If you consider health care an important issue for the upcoming presidential election this year, you are in good company. In a Gallup poll December 2019, 81% of those surveyed considered it very or extremely important. Following closely in importance were terrorism/national security , gun policy, and education.
It’s too soon to discuss what the individual candidates propose for healthcare as there are still multiple Democratic candidates vying for the nomination and there are challengers to the Repubican incumbent.
What do the political parties say about healthcare?
So we’ll focus on the two major party platforms and see what they say about health care. My intent is to present a non-partisan review since this blog does not endorse any party or candidate. If my reviews seem biased toward any specific viewpoint, that is unintentional.
I’ll summarize what I consider the highlights but encourage you to read the entire documents. I’ll include points that express the party’s positions as well as its proposals.
The Republican Platform on health
Since they are the challengers this year, I started with the Democratic party platform; this post only addresses the Republican position .
The photos are for illustration only and are not associated with the platform or the party.
First, let’s read the introduction to the 2016 platform on health. The Republican platform is structured differently than the Democrats’, grouping healthcare with education and criminal justice. I will include references to health issues that appear in the education and justice sections. There are also health issues addressed in other sections of the platform that I include as well.
Great American Families, Education, Healthcare, and Criminal Justice
“We are the party of independent individuals and the institutions they create together — families, schools, congregations, neighborhoods — to advance their ideals and make real their dreams. Those institutions, standing between the citizen and the power of government, are the pillars of a free society. They create spaces where the power of government should not intrude. They allow Americans to work together to solve most of the problems facing their communities.
Our society is at a crossroads. The question is whether we are going to reinvigorate the private-sector institutions under citizen control or allow their continued erosion by the forces of centralized social planning. In that divide, the Republican Party stands with the people.”
Marriage, Family, and Society
“Foremost among those institutions is the American family. It is the foundation of civil society, and the cornerstone of the family is natural marriage, the union of one man and one woman. That is why Republicans formulate public policy, from taxation to education, from healthcare to welfare, with attention to the needs and strengths of the family.”
oppose policies and laws that create a financial incentive for or encourage cohabitation
do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states
Families formed or enlarged by adoption strengthen our communities and ennoble our nation. Private entities which facilitate adoptions enrich our communities
support measures such as the First Amendment Defense Act to ensure these entities do not face government discrimination because of their views on marriage and family
urge marriage penalties to be removed from the tax code and public assistance programs
Choice in Education
“We support options for learning, including home-schooling, career and technical education, private or parochial schools, magnet schools, charter schools, online learning, and early-college high schools. We especially support the innovative financing mechanisms that make options available to all children: education savings accounts (ESAs), vouchers, and tuition tax credits.”
propose that the bulk of federal money through Title I for low-income children and through IDEA for children with special needs should follow the child to whatever school the family thinks will work best for them
renew our call for replacing “family planning” programs for teens with sexual risk avoidance education that sets abstinence until marriage as the responsible and respected standard of behavior
oppose school-based clinics that provide referral or counseling for abortion and contraception and believe that federal funds should not be used in mandatory or universal mental health, psychiatric, or socio-emotional screening programs
support the original, authentic meaning of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972. It affirmed that “no person in the United States shall, on the basis of sex, be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination under any education program or activity receiving Federal financial assistance.”
commend the good-faith efforts by law enforcement, educational institutions, and their partners to address (sexual assault) responsibly, and further propose
Whenever reported, it must be promptly investigated by civil authorities and prosecuted in a courtroom, not a faculty lounge
Questions of guilt or innocence must be decided by a judge and jury, with guilt determined beyond a reasonable doubt
Those convicted of sexual assault should be punished to the full extent of the law
Restoring Patient Control and Preserving Quality in Healthcare
“Any honest agenda for improving healthcare must start with repeal of the dishonestly named Affordable Care Act of 2010: Obamacare. It must be removed and replaced with an approach based on genuine competition, patient choice, excellent care, wellness, and timely access to treatment. “
The President, on the first day in office, will use legitimate waiver authority under the law to halt its advance and then, with the unanimous support of Congressional Republicans, will sign its repeal.
reduce mandates and enable insurers and providers of care to increase healthcare options and contain costs. Our goal is to ensure that all Americans have improved access to affordable, high-quality healthcare, including those struggling with mental illness
return to the states their historic role of regulating local insurance markets, limit federal requirements on both private insurance and Medicaid, and call on state officials to reconsider the costly medical mandates, imposed under their own laws, that price millions of low-income families out of the insurance market.
block grant Medicaid and other payments and to assist all patients, including those with pre-existing conditions, to obtain coverage in a robust consumer market
affirm the dignity of women by protecting the sanctity of human life… abortion endangers the health and well-being of women, and we stand firmly against it.
To ensure vigorous competition in healthcare, and because cost-awareness is the best guard against over-utilization,
promote price transparency so consumers can know the cost of treatments before they agree to them
empower individuals and small businesses to form purchasing pools in order to expand coverage to the uninsured
We believe that individuals with preexisting conditions who maintain continuous coverage should be protected from discrimination. We applaud the advance of technology in electronic medical records while affirming patient privacy and ownership of personal health information.
Today’s highly mobile workforce needs portability of insurance coverage that can go with them from job to job.
propose to end tax discrimination against the individual purchase of insurance and allow consumers to buy insurance across state lines
propose repealing the 1945 McCarran-Ferguson Act which protects insurance companies from anti-trust litigation
look to the growth of Health Savings Accounts and Health Reimbursement Accounts that empower patients and advance choice in healthcare
make homecare (for senior adults) a priority in public policy and will implement programs to protect against elder abuse
Protecting Individual Conscience in Healthcare
“We respect the rights of conscience of healthcare professionals, doctors, nurses, pharmacists, and organizations, especially the faith-based groups which provide a major portion of care for the nation and the needy. ”
support the ability of all organizations to provide, purchase, or enroll in healthcare coverage consistent with their religious, moral, or ethical convictions without discrimination or penalty.
support the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children
support the right of parents to consent to medical treatment for their minor children and urge enactment of legislation that would require parental consent for their daughter to be transported across state lines for abortion
Providers should not be permitted to unilaterally withhold services because a patient’s life is deemed not worth living. American taxpayers should not be forced to fund abortion.
call for a permanent ban on federal funding and subsidies for abortion and healthcare plans that include abortion coverage
Better Care and Lower Costs: Tort Reform
“Medical malpractice lawsuits have ballooned the cost of healthcare for everyone by forcing physicians to practice defensive medicine through tests and treatments which otherwise might be optional. “
support state and federal legislation to cap non-economic damages in medical malpractice lawsuits, thereby relieving conscientious providers of burdens that are not rightly theirs and addressing a serious cause of higher medical bills.
Advancing Research and Development in Healthcare
“To continue our headway against breast and prostate cancer, diabetes, and other killers, research must consider the needs of formerly neglected demographic groups. “
call for expanded support for the stem cell research that now offers the greatest hope for many afflictions — through adult stem cells, umbilical cord blood, and cells reprogrammed into pluripotent stem cells — without the destruction of embryonic human life
urge a ban on human cloning for research or reproduction, and a ban on the creation of, or experimentation on, human embryos for research
support cutting federal and state funding for entities that endanger women’s health by performing abortions in a manner inconsistent with federal or state law
Putting Patients First: Reforming the FDA
“The continuously increasing burden of governmental regulation and red tape is taking its toll on our innovative companies, and their pipeline of new life-saving devices and drugs to our nation’s patients is slowing and diminishing. The FDA needs to return to its traditional emphasis on hard science and approving new breakthrough medicines, rather than divert its attention and consume its resources trying to overregulate electronic health records or vaping”.
pledge to restore the FDA to its position as the premier scientific health agency, focused on both promoting and protecting the public health in equal measure
allowing terminally ill patients the right to try investigational medicines not yet approved by the FDA.
urge Congress to pass federal legislation to give all Americans with terminal illnesses the right to try
Advancing Americans with Disabilities
Under the last two Republican presidents, landmark civil rights legislation affirmed the inherent rights of persons with disabilities. Republicans want to support those rights by guaranteeing access to education and the tools necessary to compete in the mainstream of society.”
To encourage their entrepreneurship, it makes sense to include them in the Small Business Administration’s 8(a) certification program, which opens up federal contracting for emerging businesses. Any restructuring of the tax code should consider ways in which companies can benefit from the talent and energy of their disabled employees.
The Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) has opened up unprecedented opportunities for many students. Congressional
lead in its reauthorization, as well as renewal of the Higher Education Act, which can offer students with disabilities increased access to the general curriculum. Our TIME Act (Transition to Integrated and Meaningful Employment) will modernize the Fair Labor Standards Act to encourage competitive employment for persons with disabilities
affirm our support for its goal of minimizing the separation of children with disabilities from their peers
endorse efforts like Employment First that replace dependency with jobs in the mainstream of the American workforce.
oppose the non-consensual withholding of care or treatment from people with disabilities, including newborns, the elderly, and infirm, just as we oppose euthanasia and assisted suicide, which endanger especially those on the margins of society
urge the Drug Enforcement Administration to restore its ban on the use of controlled substances for physician-assisted suicide.
Ensuring Safe Neighborhoods: Criminal Justice and Prison Reform
The men and women of law enforcement — whether patrolling our neighborhoods or our borders, fighting organized crime or guarding against domestic terror — deserve our gratitude and support. Their jobs are never easy, especially in crisis situations, and should not be made more difficult by politicized second-guessing from federal officials. To honor their sacrifice, we
recommit ourselves, as individuals and as a party, to the rule of law and the pursuit of justice
A new administration
must ensure the immediate dismissal and, where appropriate, prosecution of any Department officials who have violated their oath of office.
The next president
must restore the public’s trust in law enforcement and civil order by first adhering to the rule of law himself
must not sow seeds of division and distrust between the police and the people they have sworn to serve and protect.
The Republican Party
must make clear in words and action that every human life matters
Combatting Drug Abuse
“The progress made over the last three decades against drug abuse is eroding, whether for cultural reasons or for lack of national leadership. Congress and a new administration should consider the long-range implications of these trends for public health and safety and prepare to deal with the problematic consequences.”
look for expeditious agreement between the House and Senate on the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, which addresses the opioid epidemic from both the demand and supply sides of the problem.
Preserving Medicare and Medicaid
(This is in a section titled Government Reform)
“We intend to save Medicare by modernizing it, empowering its participants, and putting it on a secure financial footing. We will preserve the promise of Medicaid as well by making that program, designed for 1965 medicine, a vehicle for good health in an entirely new era.”
Impose no changes for persons 55 or older.
Give others the option of traditional Medicare or transition to a premium-support model designed to strengthen patient choice, promote cost-saving competition among providers, and better guard against the fraud and abuse that now diverts billions of dollars every year away from patient care.
Guarantee to every enrollee an income-adjusted contribution toward a plan of their choice, with catastrophic protection.
Without disadvantaging present retirees or those nearing retirement, set a more realistic age for eligibility in light of today’s longer life span.
We applaud the Republican governors and state legislators who have undertaken the hard work of modernizing Medicaid. We will give them a free hand to do so by block-granting the program without strings. Using block grants would allow states to experiment with different systems to address mental health and develop successful models to be replicated in states across the nation.
We respect the states’ authority and flexibility to exclude abortion providers from federal programs such as Medicaid and other healthcare and family planning programs so long as they continue to perform or refer for elective abortions or sell the body parts of aborted children.
The Second Amendment:Our Right to Keep and Bear Arms
(This is in a section titled A Rebirth of Constitutional Government)
“We uphold the right of individuals to keep and bear arms, a natural inalienable right that predates the Constitution and is secured by the Second Amendment. Lawful gun ownership enables Americans to exercise their God-given right of self-defense for the safety of their homes, their loved ones, and their communities.”
support firearm reciprocity legislation to recognize the right of law-abiding Americans to carry firearms to protect themselves and their families in all 50 states
support constitutional carry statutes and salute the states that have passed them
oppose any effort to deprive individuals of their right to keep and bear arms without due process of law.
condemn frivolous lawsuits against gun manufacturers and the (past)Administration’s illegal harassment of firearm dealers
oppose federal licensing or registration of law-abiding gun owners, registration of ammunition, and restoration of the ill-fated Clinton gun ban.
call for a thorough investigation — by a new Republican administration — of the deadly “Fast and Furious” operation perpetrated by Department of Justice officials who approved and allowed illegal sales of guns to known violent criminals
Here is the link to the 2016 Republican Party Platform on Health
exploring the HEART of healthcare change
I appreciate your interest in the politics of healthcare, an issue that is vital to all of us every day. These proposals will become more focussed and debated as election day approaches; the national election is Tuesday November 3, 2020. Please exericse your right to vote, I plan to.
I appreciate all of you who follow this blog; there are numerous other blogs to choose from so I am honored you chose to spend some time here. A special welcome to all my new followers from this past month.